Foreign minister Martin Schulz becomes laughing stock on Facebook
Some miss their finance minister, the others bemoan the untrue announcements of their party leader. Shortly after the end of the coalition negotiations the Facebook fans of both CDU and SPD consider themselves as the losers of the grand coalition negotiations.
February 7, 2018: The long-awaited end of the coalition negotiations started a storm of posts within the Facebook communities of CDU and SPD. Many users are unsatisfied with its results and get active on Facebook.
One of the outcomes that seemed to cause the most outrage was the announcement that – if the new grand coalition materializes then Martin Schulz shall become the new foreign minister.
Schulz as “minister of breach of promise and voters fraud”
The Facebook trend of the day in both the CDU and SPD communities is the now famous video of Martin Schulz’ statement on September 25 2017, in which the SPD party leader declares: “I will not enter into a government formed by Angela Merkel”.
The fans of both political parties also shared a text of the satirical newspaper-like website The Postillon, in which Schulz is proposed to be nominated as “minister for spoof, minister for breach of promise and voters fraud”:
“After the parliamentary elections, Martin Schulz had indeed announced several times and with clear words not to enter into a grand coalition or even to become minister in the new Merkel government. However, in the end this seemed to have been the best form of self-promotion.”
That is how the satirical newspaper describes – with a twinkle in the eye – the SPD party leader’s promotion to the position of a liar minister.
Young Socialists try to encourage SPD-members to vote against grand coalition
Apart from that, shortly after the coalition negotiations held on February 7 and 8, the Facebook fans of CDU and SPD have widely different interests
Amongst the SPD supporters, Kevin Kühnert’s call to vote against a new grand coalition during the SPD member vote is trending.
The party leader of the socialists’ youth organisation Jusos is convinced that his opinion will find “agreement of many sides”. In his Facebook post he announces to go on a „#NoGroKo” (“no grand coalition”) tour to several German cities in February to make the SPD “THE social force in our society again” instead of allowing its degeneration to the “eternal grand coalition junior partner”.
Also a post of the Facebook page NoGroko, an association founded by Social Democrats to „inhibit the new edition of a grand coalition and to reinvent the SPD” is widely shared. On the post with the hashtags #NoNahles (new SPD party leader), #NoSchulz and #NoGroKo the associations claims to elect a new party leader by direct voting.
However, the SPD fans are also interested in critical statements about the grand coalition made by politicians from other political parties.
For instance, engaged with a post by the left party politician Sahra Wagenknecht, who calls the coalition results — “top” in terms of the wrangling over ministerial posts and a flop content-wise.
She also criticizes that problems like rising rising home rents, low wages and social inequality have not been addressed. In her post she also encourages SPD members to vote against a new edition of the new coalition.
CDU trend: “Black has never been so red”
Strong criticism against the results of the coalition talks can also be heard from the Facebook fans of CDU.
One of the most successful media articles in their community – which is also well received by the SPD fans is the commentary “Black has never been so red” by Sat1 breakfast television programme of February 7. In German politics, the colour black is generally attributed to the liberal-conservative Christian Democratic Union whereas the colour red stands for the Social Democratic Party.
So ROT war SCHWARZ noch nie: Angela Merkel ist die beste Kanzlerin, die die SPD je hatte! Ein Kommentar von Claus Strunz.
Gepostet von SAT.1 Frühstücksfernsehen am Mittwoch, 7. Februar 2018
In his commentary, journalist Claus Strunz argues that Merkel has “submitted” herself to the Social Democrats during the coalition negotiations, amongst others because she gave the finance ministry to “a previous clinically dead SPD” and he describes the current political situation in Germany with the words: “Angela Merkel is from now on the best chancellor that the SPD ever had.”
Another trend is the opinion piece The German pleisure for decline by the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Its author Wolfgang Bok misses a forward-looking approach and a focus on Germany’s national interests in the country’ politics. He also criticizes Germany’s refugee policy as follows:
„The fact that the topic of refugees is at the top of the list of concerns for Germans is constantly ignored by the establishment in politics and media. Instead of looking at the issue holistically, CDU and SPD argued about the family reunion of a small group of refugees during the coalition negotiations.”
According to the Young Christian Democrats “SPD is incapable of building up money supplies”
Also a commentary by the news magazine Stern, in which the coalition agreement is described as evidence of incapacity since according to the author Axel Vornbäumen, the involved politicians paid more attention to their own professional career than to their own party’s political goals during the negotiations, and this sparked the interest of many users.
Vornbäumen predicts that in a new grand coalition, Merkel will not be able “to keep her opponents within CDU calm” because her political power shall diminish as she will have to allocate important minorities to the SPD.
Very similar to the SPD community, content from the Christian Democrats’ own youth organisation is popular amongst the Facebook fans of CDU.
The most popular post is from the Facebook page Junge Union München-Nord (Young union MunichNorth) which criticizes the allocation of the finance ministry to the SPD. The post shows a picture of Franz-Josef Strauß, the most well-known minister president of the state of Bavaria for the political party CSU, CDU’s Bavarian sister party, next to the sentence: „Like a dog is incapable of building up sausage supplies, the Social Democrats are incapable of building up money supplies.”
Against refugees and for animal protection
While many users in the SPD community are interested in posts from the left party, Facebook posts of the right-wing populist party AfD (Alternative for Germany) become a trend in the CDU community.
Several times, CDU fans share a post from Alice Weidel, one of the AfD leaders, who criticises the coalition agreement between CDU/CSU and SPD because the word “refugees cap” does not appear in it and and also because she predicts that “in the future 180 000 and 200 000 migrants per year will immigrate to Germany”.
Posts of the Facebook page of the AfD politician Jörg Meuthen have also made it in the CDU trends. At the same time, the Facebook fans of CDU are interested in an article by the cooperative-owned left-leaning newspaper taz that questions the plans of the grand coalition to punish people breaking in into stables to document cruelty to animals more severely.
Also a Facebook post from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in Germany
makes the rounds in which the organisation writes:
„The grand coalition did not take any decision in towards animal welfare. Instead even more wolves may be killed. This genuflection to the agriculture and hunting lobby is disgraceful.”
CDU fans consider announced family policy positive
Unlike in the SPD community where no praise for the decision in favour of the grand coalition is found, some CDU fans seem to consider the results of the coalition negotiations positive.
They share a CDU post, which announces that the child allowances will be raised by 25 euro per child and month and they watch the following CDU-Video, in which the CDU politician Annette Widmann-Mauz lists the planned measures to support families.
Amongst others, she talks about the legal right to all-day childcare until elementary school and and a raise of children’s allowances.
Fear of islamists and fake news
Some additional definite trends, apart from the coalition negotiations can be found in both the Facebook communities.
For instance, the Facebook fans of both parties show great interest in the case of a Tunisian man who is legally obliged to leave the country and is said to be dangerous. Despite being arrested for drug-trafficking he was set free shortly after his arrest.
Several trending media pieces, for example a text by n-tv, compare the incident with the case of Anis Amri who committed The Berlin attack at Breitscheidplatz in December 2016: Despite being associated with drug –trafficking, he has not been expelled from the country.
In addition, the fans of CDU as well as the fans of SPD are interested in the launch of the rocket Falcon Heavy on February 6, and particularly in a Facebook live video of the event.
They also share an article by the newspaper Welt in which AfD’s demand to dismiss the moderator of the satirical TV programme “heute show” is discussed and criticized.
The moderator Oliver Welke made fun of the speech impaired AfD politician Dieter Amann which was subject to harsh criticism by the AfD. Welke, however, had already apologized for the incident.
Furthermore, also pieces from dubious websites are circulating in the CDU facebook community. For instance, many users read a text by the Russian propagandist website sputniknews.com which had falsely claimed the German Rebecca Sommer wanted to flee to Poland due to her negative experiences during her work in the refugee aid.
Although, the false information has been corrected, the text however is still online. In the SPD community, such type of ill-informed content can not be found.
The analysis is based on 4080 posts that have been posted or shared in the Facebook communities of CDU and SPD on February 7 and 8. The results are not representative but they allow deep insights into the chosen targets groups.